The organisers of Challenge Weymouth have signed a contract with race rival Ironman to host in an M Dot branded race for the next 3 years at least.
IRONMAN® Weymouth and IRONMAN® 70.3® Weymouth triathlons will kick off next year on Sunday September 11, 2016 with registration for both events opening on Monday, November 9, 2015.
With the addition of these new races, the United Kingdom now hosts six IRONMAN races, tied with Spain for the most of any country in Europe. The additional UK races include the IRONMAN® UK, IRONMAN® Wales, IRONMAN® 70.3® UK and IRONMAN® 70.3®Staffordshire triathlons.
Speaking to the race director Alan Rose of Just Racing UK, it seems the switch from Challenge to Ironman will be a permanent one.
“We’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Challenge Family,” he said. “I’ve got nothing bad to say about the organisation but we just weren’t getting big enough numbers of triathletes to justify the event. This year we had 500 take on the full Challenge distance and 700 in the half distance. With the expenses we had going out it doesn’t make sense.”
“With a branded race like that we had to pay Challenge for the licence, the pro purse and that’s not to mention traffic management costs so with only 1200 paying triathletes it just doesn’t stack up.”
Challenge Weymouth was held twice before the switch but the contract with the race brand included the previous three years of Challenge Henley which was moved in 2014 after complaints from locals.
Alan says he’s looking forward to working under the Ironman brand pointing to the fact that, where other races in the UK often struggle to get large numbers, Ironman races have all sold out.
So what does this mean for the rivalry between Ironman and Challenge? Well, no doubt Challenge will be looking for a new flagship to start up next year in Britain. Watch this space.
The Weymouth race will have the same course with the swim in Weymouth Bay, with the backdrop of the Jurassic Coastline. The bike course will offer speed, hills and the charm of the Dorset Countryside. The multi-lap run will take athletes around the town, harbour and the historic Weymouth seafront, where sailing competitions took place during the 2012 Olympic Games.
IRONMAN Weymouth will also have 30 qualifying slots to the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.